The footstool of Miller’s red chair scraped across the floor. Again.
He mindlessly moves it around while eating. Most days I can ignore it, but today every sound of shifting metal and banging plastic sends me jumping. Telltale signs of a chair that’s about to topple, I’m certain of it.
He doesn’t fall. But that doesn’t stop my heart from accelerating, my muscles to clench, my breath to catch with each screech.
I consider tying the footstool to the chair so it can’t be moved and ask Miller to stop moving it because, and I quote, “You’re giving me mini heart attacks.” In return he gives me the stank eye. Noted.
This is anxiety. I’m really anxious this morning. Why?
“Why?” asked Mark when I told him about my still frayed nerves a little while later.
“Miller’s birthday party.” I responded, the answer tumbling out of my mouth in that way that knee-jerk reaction truth does.
Miller turns four in a few days, and I’m having a small party at the house for it. Small as in family and some of my closest friends who happen to have children around Miller’s age. (He’s still young enough that I can fully dictate his party’s guest list. In other words, his party is a smokescreen for me to hang out with my friends. Go ahead. Judge me.)
I questioned my angst to see what had it all riled up.
Food. Food prep for the party. Of course. The old hamster wheel it was a spinning its tune:
I should accommodate dietary restrictions. I should accommodate diets. I should have more than just pizza and salad and cupcakes. I should have plenty of snacks and finger foods. I should have kid-friendly healthy options and enough food to fill the tummies of grown men. Heaven forbid anybody leave this party hungry or unsatisfied!
Should should should should should.
The Should Monster. It feasts on fear of imperfection.
Do you know how many times it’s crippled my productivity? Too many.
I turned my back on that ole Should Monster and said in my mind, It’s not, ‘This is what I should do.’ It’s, ‘This is what I will do.’
What I should do. What I will do.
By rephrasing the statement from “should” to “will”, I shifted from helplessly spinning to taking action. From pointless to purposeful.
What I will do is…
I will get grapes and strawberries, celery and carrots. I will set out goldfish and pretzels, pepperoni and salami. It gives gluten free options and dairy free options. It’s healthy and it’s nut free.
I will remind myself that each and every one of the women coming over love me. They see me at my best and celebrate with me. They seen me at my worst and show up for me. They’re there for the every day, sweatpants, in-betweens of life, and sometimes they even banter with my Snarky side. These gals are my people.
What I will do is…
Open my front door. Welcome them home.
I will remember that the night isn’t about the food, or even about me. It’s about having as much fun as possible celebrating this growing boy of mine.
The next time you’re anxious, check in and ask it why. Anxiety isn’t there to torment you; it’s signaling you for help.
If anxiety is flared up because of the Should Monster, I hope you find this simple word swap as helpful as I have.Take action against 'should' anxiety. Change 'This is what I should do' to 'This is what I will do.' Click To Tweet
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